Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) - Wish me luck... First 400k tomorrow
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08-21-09, 04:24 PM
I'm hitting the road at 06:00 for my first 400k attempt with the Seattle Randonneurs tomorrow. Not an amazingly hilly course; no mountain passes, but a couple of 3+ mile climbs thrown in for fun. One at 114 miles, and another at 235 miles.
I've got 27h to finish, but I'm hoping for a time closer to 22h.
08-21-09, 04:34 PM
Wow, finish or not, mad props for even attempting such distance.
08-21-09, 04:47 PM
Wow, finish or not, mad props for even attempting such distance.
Oh, I'll finish... even if it takes me all 27h to drag my butt back to the final control, I'll finish. I may be a disgusting wreck of 5-Hour Energy, Starbucks Doubleshots and Ensure by the time it's all over; but I will get my 400k medal.
It's the last stepping stone to me doing a full Super Randonneur series next season; which is a 200/300/400 and 600k in one year.
08-21-09, 05:22 PM
Have fun! Ill be waiting for a ride report!
08-21-09, 06:05 PM
Woot! Find the zone and ride on Clifton! You know you can do it, the only question is in what time.
08-21-09, 06:08 PM
Go get 'em!
08-21-09, 06:09 PM
Awesome! I'm still working up to my first 200k, hopefully around October for the local permanent. Planning on a training ride this weekend that goes over two of the early climbs in the course, plus one to ride to "the start" of the course.
08-21-09, 06:23 PM
Yep. Final route sheet says 250.3mi / 402.8km
I haven't mapped the elevation yet, but I don't think it's too much. Under 10K, I think, just from eyeballing the route sheet.
08-21-09, 07:16 PM
WOW!!:twitchy: That is an awesome distance. I'll be mentally with you all the way. Just keep telling yourself, "turtlewoman can't do this right now but I'm doing it for her." That sounds kind of stupid now that I wrote it but I definitely will be with you in spirit. I know that someday I'll be able to toe the starting line with you!~!:thumb:
08-21-09, 07:19 PM
Go kick some butt Clifton, we're rootin for you :thumb:
08-21-09, 07:33 PM
Goin' for your SR Clifton? Can we look forward to your Twitter updates from the next PBP ala Lance?
GO for it Clifton.
I think that's nuts, but I'm cheering for you!
08-21-09, 08:20 PM
wow...i would love to be able to do that kind of distance..
That's quite a distance! Good luck! An order of magnitude greater than what I can do :thumb:
08-21-09, 08:35 PM
What kind of car do you drive? Make sure you bring a couple of CD's and maybe some chips or something.
08-21-09, 10:23 PM
Mapped it out, and it looks like 8500 - 9000' of gain.
Tex - I'm not looking to do anything more than a 600k. I've read too many accounts of people ending up in the hospital from dehydration, sleep dep. complications, etc.
08-21-09, 10:25 PM
Clifton, you are going to own this distance......I have the utmost of confidence in you. Now, go to bed and get sleep.
08-22-09, 02:23 AM
Good luck today! WooHoo!
08-22-09, 02:38 AM
I think you're nuts but good luck all the same.
08-22-09, 05:01 AM
good luck bro. i think i now have a new goal!
08-22-09, 05:58 AM
Good luck and let us know how it goes. I want to do some of these things, but I can't do a lot of things until my daughter graduates high school. You are a great inspiration to many.
Have a great time!!!!
08-22-09, 12:49 PM
I guess I'm too late for this advice, but a turkey sub at 100 miles is better than EPO
08-22-09, 01:16 PM
Good luck today, and tomorrow, Clifton. But, why not finish the series? You're so close. No PBP, either? You still have a couple years to change your mind. First things first, again, good luck and have fun out there.
08-22-09, 05:52 PM
Wow, finish or not, mad props for even attempting such distance.
damn! That's a long time in the saddle. I was totally spent after 100k today. Don't think I could ever attempt that distance in 1 day. 1 week - yea sure, but 1 day - never? Good Luck!
08-22-09, 07:16 PM
So, do you think CliftonGK1 will post how it went today. I guessing, "Nah!"
08-22-09, 08:57 PM
I just hope his jeep made it to the start
08-22-09, 10:17 PM
update, CliftonGK1 partner says he is on schedule to finish around 5am...so far so good.
08-22-09, 10:54 PM
Woot! I hope you have a blast. Good luck.
08-23-09, 02:53 AM
update, CliftonGK1 partner says he is on schedule to finish around 5am...so far so good.
Some pancakes are in some serious trouble.
08-23-09, 04:17 AM
I can't wait to hear how it went. Go, CliftonGK1!!!
08-23-09, 09:53 AM
24h 30m total time
Narayan got a flat 3 miles from the finish, and somehow we were still coherent enough to patch a tube and replace everything.
Mile 114 - 118 was a consistent 12% grade.
Mile 118 - 132 was rolling climbing.
Mile 240 - 244 was a persistent 6% grade
Mile 247 - 248 was an 8% grade
Mile 249ish to the finish included a 15% for 3/10mi.
More updates later. Sleep now.
Good luck Clifton, can't wait for the update!
08-23-09, 10:28 AM
Great job!!! That is an average of 16.44 kph for 24.5 hours straight and obviously there were breaks in there to do something besides ride. GREAT JOB!!!
08-24-09, 08:01 AM
08-24-09, 01:29 PM
My alarm went of at 03:30 so I could get up and have some breakfast, do last minute gear checks, and get through my morning routine before heading off to the start of the Seattle Randonneurs summer series 400k. I ate a banana, some toasted baguette and fruit, and started loading my stuff into the Jeep. Although the start was only 5 miles away, it was over 2 gnarly hills which were part of the last 10 miles of the course anyhow... so I'd get to enjoy them later.
I rolled up to the start control and there were already a bunch of riders at Mark's house having breakfast. Mark had prepared a feast of coffee, muffins and fruit; including enough bananas to feed the primate house at the zoo for a week. I saw Peg W., Bob B., Jeff L. and a handful of other fast riders and quickly realized that of the 17 registered participants I would likely be rolling in "lanterne rouge". Not that there's anything wrong with that. Narayan K. and Chuck H. were there, too, so I thought maybe I'd have some company for a while.
We started out without much hoopla or to-do, with Narayan's awesome statement as he left the driveway ahead of the rest: "I'M WINNING!" The group kept a moderate pace through Mark's 'hood until we reached the 'death-drop' and then the pack broke up. The fast ones went barelling ahead, while Narayan and I rounded up the back of the pack with Chuck having left after everyone, so he wasn't in sight yet.
Around 10 miles in, the lead pack was in our mirrors again, and Bob B. rolled up next to us with a look of mock disdain: "Thanks for dropping us slow old guys back there. So you guys didn't get the Super Secret Control that isn't on cue sheet and you have to make a wrong turn to find it?" Apparently the fast gang made a minor detour and had some bonus kilometers to get back on course. I was at least familiar with the first 15 - 20 miles and the last 40 miles because they were very similar to the Tour de Cure century course which I've ridden 3 times.
So, the fast gang was back in the lead and all was right with the world again. Narayan and I were rolling pretty well at this point, keeping about 14.5 - 15mph average which would let us build up some buffer time for when the hills kicked in around halfway into the ride. I was coming off a 3 day stretch of acclimating to new medications (I had to stop taking my old ones for a doctor's appointment earlier in the week, then started back on them along wtih 2 new ones.) Narayan was still jet-lagged from a couple weeks in Europe, and this was his first time back on the bike in about 20 days. What a pair! At this point, we were sort of leapfrogging each other at the controls. Somehow we arrived at the 40mi Arlington control while Bob B., Jeff L. and a few others were still lingering about. After a brief chat, they were gone. Narayan headed out, confident I would catch up. Chuck H. reluctantly looked my way for a picture before heading off, and I finished my preparations and headed off to the highway.
Along SR-530 to Darrington I caught up to Chuck H. as we stood in a line of cars at the scene of an accident. Some sport bikers who had been riding rather aggressively since they passed us back in Arlington had some sort of wipeout and they were backboarding at least one of them away. I hope the guy ends up recovering; there was a long trail of busted motorcycle leading up to where they were working on this dude. Chuck and I were quickly separated as he went ripping down SR-530 at 3mph faster than I cared to attempt. I wouldn't see him again until the return trip down from Baker Lake Resort as I was heading up the hill.
Again, Narayan and I were leapfrogging but keeping a mostly similar pace overall. Along SR-530 I was joined for a while by a guy out training for his first Ironman tri. He rode with me until the turn onto Rockport-Cascade Rd. which was 10.2 miles of the crappiest 0.5" pebbled chip-seal I've been on since I lived in the Appalachian foothills. The day was warming up as the clouds parted, so I took the opportunity to rest from the chatter of the road by stopping to take off my arm and knee warmers and having a snack before rolling the n-n-n-n-ne-e-ext f-f-f-four m-m-m-m-iles. Getting back onto SR-20 into the Marblemount control was a little slice of heaven!
At the Marblemount control we took a load off and sat for a bit at the picnic table out front. Noel H. and Andy S. were just finishing up their lunch as Narayan and I were getting in. Noel asked "Where'd you guys come from?" and I replied "Back there." and pointed up SR-20. Andy laughed and looked at Noel as if to say, 'Hey, you're the one who asked him. Don't blame me if he's a smartass.' The guy at the counter of the Marblemount Market was really nice, and apparently they're used to a lot of cyclists coming through there because the guy had a whole rack of PowerBars and Clif Bars; unusual for a country store like his. He informed us that the lead group was about 2 hours ahead of us, in case we cared. Then he chuckled and said, "But we don't need to be concerned about being that competitive, do we?" We were at 97 miles for the day, so I bought some Clif Bars, another water for the climb up Burpee Hill/Baker Lake Road, and a Landjager sausage (think "Slim Jim" but not all greasy and chemical processed) which was just the perfect salt/fat bomb I needed to keep my spirits up. A quick stop at the can, and I was back on the road to chase Narayan's trail again.
I caught him just before getting to Concrete, and we took a quick break to stretch our legs under a big shade tree before heading up Limestone Ave and Burpee Hill Road. Seriously, this thing is a daunting climb to consider no matter when you're hitting it, and we already had 9 hours and 114 miles under our belt. We started climbing and it wasn't so bad; the chip-seal wasn't fresh, and had been fairly well packed in so we had a smooth roll. Then Narayan said "there it is" and pointed forward. I looked over at him and asked "you mean where it looks like someone folded the road?" as it seemed the pavement just went from out current grade to a clean 12% or better with no transition.
And that's what it was for the next 4.2 miles: Between a 10% and 14% grade varying climb, just grinding it out in the lowest gear, switching between sitting and standing for some variety, and slogging through it. The views, where there were tree-breaks, were astonishing. The shade was welcomed. The hill was freakin' brutal. I made it up the hill to Baker Lake Road, which is still a hill, but it's nothing compared to what we just came up, and was caught by Ian S. and Josh M. who had gotten a late start. They were sitting at the picnic table when I arrived at Baker Lake Resort. I honestly don't recall if Narayan or I made it there first. I stopped at a rest area half-way up, and I remember him passing me as I was getting back onto my bike, but I think he stayed ahead of me.
We stopped at Baker Lake Resort, which was just past the 200k mark, for dinner. It was 17:30-ish so we stuffed our faces for 15 minutes and started our way back down the hill to Sedro-Wooley.
It was somewhere in this stretch that Narayan and I made an effort to ride together. We had discussed the night-time sections earlier in the day and made the decision to ride together for safety after dark on SR-20 into Sedro-Wooley and SR-9 to Arlington. This was a good decision for the both of us. I tend to over-pace myself, and would have likely burned out between 300 - 350k and really been hurting for the last 50k. Narayan was pretty sleepy for the last few hours, so we were a good team to pull each other through. As we were just into the edge of town, we saw Chuck H. coming from the control. He rolled right past the Township Rd. turn, and we hollered and waved that he was going the wrong way, and yelled for him to come back. He either didn't hear us right, or was just that out of it, because he looked over, smiled and waved, and rolled on into the darkness... the wrong way back up SR-9 north. We have no idea how far. We didn't see him again. We rolled into Sedro-Wooley and hit the control, chatted with some Canadian motorcyclists on their way back north to Chilliwack, put our cold gear back on since the temperature was back in the low 50s again, and got back on the road to Arlington. We were about 200 miles in, and Narayan mentioned that he should have grabbed a soda at the last control. This is where it started getting really fun for us both. He's tired and I've never gone 3 miles past our current distance. So, we stop at this corner pub/market north of Granite Falls and have a quick coffee and get back on the road. Then we roll into Granite Falls. During the day, it's a regular Cascade foothills town. During the weekend nights (it's around 01:30 Sunday morning) it's "Night of the Living Rednecks" straight from the Dead Kennedys. We made quick work of the control. A group of drunk teenagers informed us that they were going into the woods to shoot a bear, and on their way out of the store (with 3 cases of beer) they invited us along. Uh, no thanks. Another guy came around the corner, saw Narayan and stopped dead in his tracks. Silently, with a quizzical bug-eyed expression, he stared Narayan up and down for about 30 seconds before walking into the store. The drunk teens had left the parking lot, so we decided it was safe to roll. We got out of there quickly and started laughing about the silent guy:
N - "What the hell was with that guy? I got that look in Europe, too."
me - "Really? He looked at you like you're from Mars or something."
N - "Maybe it's the outfit?"
me - "It's Granite Falls, I know he's seen cyclists before. And it's Washington. It's not like he's never seen an Indian guy before." *we both get a hefty laugh from this.*
N - "It's the combination of the two. It was just too much for him to handle."
We push on into the night with 40 miles left. The remainder of the course is similar to the Tour de Cure century. Robe-Menzel Road rolls gently to N. Lake Roesiger, but we took the west side of the lake with its 2.5 miles of moderate rollers as opposed to the east side of the lake with its 1 mile climb and 1 mile downhill. We made it to the information control, which Narayan said was a manned secret on last year's 400k, and he expected to see Geoff S. or Mark T. there this year. No such luck and we spent about 5 minutes trying to figure things out. The card and the cue sheet didn't match quite right, so the "what is the road to the left?" question made no sense. There were 2 roads to the left, one without a name, and finally we gave up and just drew a map with EVERYthing we could name on it so we could show it to Mark T. at the finish and ask him what the hell one he wanted. (He told us that it was Parker Rd. which was on our drawn map, and that if we were confused then it means we were definitely there since everybody was confused by that one.)
25 miles to go. The home stretch. We ramble on through the rest of the rollers and into the Valley on Tualco Rd, and Narayan asks for a 5 minute nap. "I'm very sleepy. Just 5 minutes and I'll be OK." I knew if he took a nap, I'd likely fall asleep, too. Can't have that happen. We agreed to keep talking and keep each other alert. Narayan is zoning out on lights, and I notice his headlight drift toward the shoulder when he's behind me, and toward the centerline when there's oncoming cars. I'm getting heavy eyelids if I don't keep talking, and I notice myself do one or two of those jerk-awake moves of Oh crap, did I just start to fall asleep? I make sure we ride spot-on side by side to keep alert. We trade bad jokes. We talk about Europe. We talk about food and make plans to have each other over for dinner. We talk about work, and it turns out he's in the same building as my fiancee. There's one more mention of a 5 minute nap, but by that time we've pressed on to only 10 miles left. We agree there's no point in sleeping. Only 3 climbs left.
We turn onto Woodinville-Duvall Road and start the 2 mile climb out of the valley. About 0.5 into it we stop at a pull-off and chow on some snacks. Within 2 minutes, we both feel better. The sleepiness was probably a result of not enough food. Feeling refreshed, we head back up the hill. We keep telling ourselves that if we can do Burpee Hill Road, we can do any hill on the course. We finish Woodinville-Duvall Hill and enjoy a nice downhill stretch and roll on to the next climb: 128th Ave NE. It's a 1 mile 7% climb and Narayan decided to give us a break about 1/3 of the way up it by rolling over a bit of glass for our first and only mechanical problem of the ride; a flat tire. It's pressing on to 06:00, it's been light for a few minutes, and we're only 3 miles from the finish. How funny is that? So we fumble around and he manages to get whatever it is out of his tire while I throw a self-adhesive patch on the tube. Our combined mental powers get the tire back on the rim and pumped up, and we're moving again. I stop at the top and put some air in my rear tire, as I've developed a slow leak that I just noticed was feeling squishy. No need to patch, just pump and go. Narayan is wating for me at the base of climb number 3, the hill to Mark's house. It's about 0.5 miles, and steep enough that he's standing on the pedals in his granny gear and I'm weaving/switchbacking from shoulder to shoulder in my 34/32 combo. The duo of tired and steep hill was a rough one, and we were laughing about it while determining if one of us would go ahead by a minute and leave the Lanterne Rouge honour for the other; my first 400, or his first time on the bike in 20 days... We decided to roll in together since we did such a teamwork job of hauling each other through the ride, especially the final 100k. At 24h 30m final time we get to Mark's house, and there are some bikes in the driveway: Peg W. has showered and slept a bit before heading home. Karel S. has cleaned up and slept after 68h finish on the 1000k which was running jointly with the 400k. Narayan and I have some coffee, rice & beans, and fresh warmed baguette for breakfast. Peg and Karel join us after a bit, as does Mark's wife. We chat for a few, and I start putting my head on my arms at the breakfast counter. Before I really fall asleep, I have another cup of coffee and bid my farewells and thanks yous and drive back home.
On my way back up the downhill side of the 128th Ave NE hill, I saw the true Lanterne Rouge rolling in to the finish. I actually caught myself saying out loud, "Holy expletive! It's Chuck!" Whatever happened in Sedro-Wooley, he got himself straightened out and made it in 1h 48m after Narayan and me.
Props to Mark T. for putting on a great event with absolutely zero SiR manned controls. Everything was either a store, an open control, or informational. This was my first 400k, and my first truly unsupported brevet. Crazy shouts to Narayan for being an awesome riding partner. Thanks to the Arlington Haggen Grocery for twice in a single ride being our control station and putting up with 17 stanky riders at 40 and 210 miles into the ride! And the country store owner in Marblemount, for being a really nice guy with a well-stocked store in the middle of nowhere.
Official finish time: 24h 30m
Food totals: ~5500 calories
- 5 bananas (600cal)
- 3 bottles of Ensure (750cal)
- 3 Clif Bars (750cal)
- 6 Gels (600cal)
- 2 bags of crisps (600cal)
- 1 Landjager (300cal)
- 1 salami/cheese sandwich on French baguette (550cal)
- 1 Coke (200cal)
- 3 Vitamin Waters (300cal)
- 4 Accelerades (800cal)
Other random things (no caloric effect):
- 20 to 25 Endurolyte tablets
- 5 NUUN tablets
- 2 bottles 5-Hour Energy
- at least a gallon of water
08-24-09, 01:47 PM
Great report, Thanks for sharing.
08-24-09, 02:30 PM
Ready for a 600 now. I step (or rather a few thousand revolutions) from Super Rando!
Great roads, huh? Some of those on my 600 (http://www.veloweb.ca/storypages/hatrick.html), last year.
08-24-09, 02:35 PM
good on ya!
been waiting to read that!!!
1000k are you doing that next year? :D
08-24-09, 06:35 PM
Congrats on the great ride! You're the man!
08-26-09, 11:19 AM
Nice ride report. Thank you!!!
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